On the heels of an arrest Monday afternoon of the boyfriend of a missing toddler’s mother, family, friends, neighbors, and strangers gathered at the intersection of Federal and Leonard Streets on Monday night for a prayer vigil.
Elaina Steinfurth, 19 months old, was last seen at a home on Federal Street on June 2.
Melissa Enright, a neighbor who attended the vigil, said she thought it was important to be there.
“Just to show the East Side love,” she said.
The service included an opening prayer and a march down Federal Street and Prentice Street, where about 60 attendees chan-ted, “Bring Elaina home,” as they walked.
A closing prayer and a balloon release ended the hour-long vigil.
Meanwhile, the boyfriend, Steven King II, 23, of 704 Federal St., was housed in the Lucas County jail late Monday, charged with obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony.
He is to be arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court.
In an affidavit, police allege that Mr. King lied to investigators about the disappearance of Elaina.
In the court document, Detective Vince Mauro wrote that officials determined Mr. King was lying after reviewing video and paperwork.
As police led Mr. King down the second-floor hallway of the Safety Building, reporters quizzed Mr. King, asking, “Where’s Elaina?” “Where’s the baby?”
“You guys will see when I’m innocent. That’s all I’ve got to say to you.”
“Where’s the baby, Steven?”
“I don’t know, obviously. You guys will find out when I’m innocent.”
Ginger Smith, a relative of the Steinfurth family who attended the vigil, said it was an overwhelming day.
“We don’t know for sure what they really have,” she said, about why officers arrested Mr. King. “We are happy that things are moving ahead. Hopefully, this is soon going to bring justice for Elaina.
“Our hopes are still very high. I think it’s just emotional right now. We don’t know what’s going on.”
A man standing on the porch of the Federal Street home Monday evening said Mr. King’s mother, Julie King, would not be making a comment and had asked him to turn reporters away.
In a previous interview with The Blade, Mrs. King said she didn’t know what happened to Elaina, and that her son repeatedly told her he was not involved in the girl’s disappearance.
“No matter the outcome, he’s still my son,” she said.
Elaina’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, 25, remained in the jail in lieu of $100,000 bond for obstructing official business.
Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said officers have been in contact with Mr. King since the “nonstop” investigation began almost two months ago.
“There’s more to come on this case,” the sergeant said, declining to elaborate.
The sergeant said the case is still considered a missing-persons investigation.
There are no planned official searches, but the Steinfurth family plan a vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Federal and Leonard streets.
Anyone with information leading to Elaina’s whereabouts could be eligible for a $10,000 reward.
Officials ask for tips to be reported to 1-800-225-5324.
Staff writers Taylor Dungjen and Kelly McLendon compiled this report.